San Diego Man Arrested for Working for Al-Qaeda Sharia Court in Syria, Fighting with Terror Group

PJ Media, by Patridk Poole, April 23, 2015:

Yesterday the FBI in San Diego arrested Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, a naturalized U.S. citizen since September 2008, for making false statements to U.S. Embassy officials, Customs and Border Protection and the FBI related to his time in Syria and Turkey over the past two years. Kodaimati left the U.S. in late December 2012 and returned on March 23.

According to the FBI affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed today in the case against Kodaimati, the 24-year-old man was caught in a series of lies related to his work on behalf of a sharia court operated by Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria and a U.S. designated terrorist organization, and also his role mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

Ultimately, Kodaimati was tripped up by his posts to Facebook.

According to the FBI, he stated in a September 2013 private message on Facebook that he worked for the sharia court in Hanano near Aleppo. He would post media statements from the Nusra-operated sharia court to social media.

The FBI complaint also alleges that Kodaimati was a close associate with a senior ISIS operative in the area, with whom he mediated on behalf of others in the area to resolve conflicts between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. He also posted pictures to his Facebook account (now removed) of him with another known ISIS operative.

In his Facebook communications, he also recounted how he, his father and his brother fought with Jabhat al-Nusra against the Assad regime for four months.

He was initially questioned at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on March 10 and 11. He was later questioned about his activities in Syria by Customs and Border Patrol upon his reentry to the U.S. at the airport in Charlotte, NC, on March 23, and later by the FBI in Charlotte on March 25. After being questioned at his home in San Diego yesterday, he was taken into custody.

Here’s the FBI complaint:

Kodaimati Criminal Complaint by Stewart Bell

Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ISIS ANZAC Day Plot

SevdetApril 23, 2015 /

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) continued their targeting of Islamic State (IS)-aligned terror cells operating throughout Australia in a raid that was executed in Melbourne this past Saturday that resulted in the arrest of two members of the attack cell. This was followed up with a third member of the cell being arrested along with a 14-yr old boy in the UK who was detained by British authorities for being tied to the plans. Although it remains unclear at this time just how the boy fits into the scheme, it appears that he was maintaining direct contact with members of the cell online. The two 18-yr olds are said to be part of a cell that was planning to attack and kill an Australian police officer, take his weapon and use it to fire on civilians attending an ANZAC Day event that was to be held on Saturday.

Anzac terror plot: Third man held in custody as details of alleged attack plot emerge

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/anzac-terror-plot-third-man-held-in-custody-as-details-of-alleged-attack-plot-emerge-20150421-1mplrn.html

Men arrested in Melbourne over alleged ‘ISIS-inspired’ Anzac Day terrorist plot

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-18/five-arrested-in-melbourne-after-a-joint-terrorism-operation/6402810

Anzac Day terrorism plot payback for Haider shooting

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/anzac-day-terrorism-plot-payback-for-haider-shooting-20150420-1mp93b.html

The selection of ANZAC Day to carry out the attack isn’t surprising in the least as the day honors the brave men that served in the Australian and New Zealand Armies who died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in addition to the contributions of all those who served. ANZAC Day is also of significance to IS in the sense that it was originally honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli agains the Ottoman Empire during World War I – a battle that the Turks (Muslims) won, although it would prove to be the last gasp of the Ottoman Empire. One of the two individuals arrested in Melbourne are identified as Sevdet Ramadan Besim, who recently appeared in court and charged. This is significant due to his friendship with the late-Numan Haider, who was killed in a SEP 14 AFP operation when he stabbed an AFP officer with a knife – implying that the planned attack was at least partially influenced by the SEP event.

Australia Launches Largest Counter-Terror OP in History Against ISIS

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1819

ISIS Targets the Australian Prime Minister

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2038

The attack itself shares many similarities to the 2013 murder of British Soldier Lee Rigby in London that we discussed in “Target America: Hunting the US Military.” In that piece, we put on our Red Cell hats and described how a lone wolf or cell of jihadists who couldn’t make the trip to Syria would go about targeting and killing a US service member. Although the article was about targeting US military personnel, the strategy also extends to Canadian, British and Australian military personnel as outlined in previous IS videos threatening each nation. The Rigby murder demonstrates how easy it is to cause havoc by targeting individual police and military personnel – which is further reinforced by IS videos stating that such attacks are just as “honorable” as conducting a high-profile attack or fighting on the front-lines in Syria. The Melbourne plot had the very real potential of being even worse since it called for the use of the slain police officer’s weapon to conduct a follow-on attack targeting the civilian population. Its cheap, effective and doesn’t require any specialized training. In other words, what we’re seeing is the “death of a thousand cuts” IS style.

Target America: Hunting the US Military

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2061

Here’s the aftermath of the Rigby murder:

Although everybody seems to be focused on the British kid, Haider and Besim’s links to the al-Furquan Dawah Center and Bookshop are of greater interest as a frequent preacher there is Muhammed Junaid Thorne – a known IS facilitator linked to recruitment and facilitating travel to Syria. As we discussed in “The Continuing Flow of Foreign Fighters From Australia,” Thorne and his close-friend Robert “Musa” Cerantonio had been quite active at their mutual associate Wissam Haddad’s al-Rislah Bookstore. As you may recall, the Bankstown-area bookstore was being as a recruiting hub and facilitating the travel of jihadists to Syria through Haddad’s network of donors and Syria-based contacts within the IS ranks. Before al-Rislah was shutdown, it had made several postings on social media that demonstrated its pro-IS alignment. Its also worth noting that Cerantonio, Haddad and Thorne are all actively working with the pro-IS organization Millatu-Ibrahim AU, which is the Australian branch of a jihadist entity that originally operated in Germany prior to being banned from the country – where it now operates “underground.” Millatu-Ibrahim also has a branch in Denmark that has been allowed to thrive in the European nation.

The Continuing Flow of Foreign Fighters From Australia

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2889

ANZAC Day_Furquan

al-Furqan Dawah Center and Bookstore
Source: Jason South

Thorne’s efforts in reaching out to his European counterparts may have facilitated a greater flow of ideas between the two continents that led to the disrupted plot being modeled on the Rigby murder. Another chilling aspects of all this is that the decision to plan for launching the attack on ANZAC Day was likely influenced by Thorne and led to the young jihadists getting in touch with structural IS member Neil Prakash aka “Abu Khalid al-Cambodi.” He’s a 23-yr old Australian national of Fijian/Cambodian heritage (hence the name “Cambodi”) that took over the duties of the late-Muhmammed Ali Baryalei, who was one of the top recruiters for IS leading up to his death. Cambodi is very active on social media and had threatened the Australian government about “the brothers” who couldn’t travel to Syria, implying that there would be attacks inside Australia itself. Its said that Cambodi played a significant role in identifying promising recruits to serve in the “Anwar al-Awlaki Battalion” that we discussed in “The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West.” The Anwar al-Awlaki Battalion consists of foreign fighters from Australia, the US, UK, Canada and was established to get a cohesive unit of westerners for the purpose of eventual redeployment back to their countries of origin – where they would set up their own networks for launching attacks on the home front. This is only part of what Cambodi’s strategy, the other being inspiring homegrown cells, even linking them up with jihadists who returned from Syria and giving them advice on which targets to consider developing for future attacks. In fact, he just recently put out a video in response to the disruption of the ANZAC Day plot calling for additional attacks on Australian soil and praised Haider.

Terror plot: teenagers linked to top Islamic State recruiter Abu Khalid al-Kambodi

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/terror-plot-teenagers-linked-to-top-islamic-state-recruiter-abu-khalid-alkambodi-20150419-1mock5.html

This snake of an Aussie jihadist got promoted to be new head recruiter for Islamic State

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/this-snake-of-an-aussie-jihadist-got-promoted-to-be-new-head-recruiter-for-islamic-state/story-fni0cx12-1227239217682

ISIS recruiter makes video urging ISIS Australian cells to carry out attacks

http://truebluenz.com/2015/04/23/isis-recruiter-makes-video-urging-isis-australian-cells-to-carry-out-attacks/

The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5388

cambodi

Cambodi
Source: The ISIS Study Group

ANZAC Day_links

Breakdown of the links between the two detainees and IS facilitators
Source: http://www.theage.com.au

The timing of the recent attack in Kabul (which will be covered in an upcoming article) and the ANZAC Day plot are unlikely to be a coincidence. It also means that other attacks may be planned elsewhere. That said, we expect the remaining personnel operating in Melbourne to lay-low this weekend to avoid capture while the cells operating in locations such as Brisbane and Sydney likely maintaining a low-profile. After a week or two those cells will probably work to change up their current OPSEC TTPs in order to mitigate further targeting in addition to doing an assessment on their current plans to determine if they’ve been compromised. We assess that JUN through AUG will likely see renewed efforts by the Australia-based terror cells to regain the initiative. Fortunately, our Australian allies are already tracking and will continue to crackdown on IS and their supporters. The US government could learn a thing or two on how to take the fight to the terrorists…

Ohio Terror Suspect Was Caught Lying to FBI Two Days After Becoming Naturalized U.S. Citizen

Image: Abdirahman Sheik MohamudThe FBI allowed Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud to obtain a passport, travel to Syria to fight with al-Qaeda, and return to conduct terror attacks.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 21, 2015:

An Ohio man indicted by a federal grand jury on terrorism support charges last week,  was questioned by the FBI two days after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

During that questioning, he was caught lying about his identity.

Several days later, Mohamud applied for a U.S. passport and was allowed to travel to Syria. There, he fought and trained with Jabhat al-Nusra — an official al-Qaeda affiliate — and then was allowed to return to the U.S. where he planned to launch terror attacks inside the U.S.

These remarkable revelations of FBI failure emerged from documents unsealed by the federal court and from last week’s indictment.

According to the indictment (p.2), Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 18 last year, and applied for a U.S. passport a week later:

On or about February 18, 2014, MOHAMUD became a naturalized U.S. citizen. On or about February 25, 2014, MOHAMUD submitted his U.S. passport application.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the FBI interviewed Mohamud on Feb. 20th — two days after his naturalization ceremony — during which FBI agents caught him lying about his identity:

The FBI first spoke to Mr. Mohamud more than a year ago, but that intervention didn’t appear to prevent the native of Somalia from traveling overseas. During the Feb. 20, 2014, interview, federal agents said Mr. Mohamud tried to lie about his identity. He first told investigators he was his older brother, Abdifatah Aden, who had already left the U.S. in 2013 and was believed to be fighting in Syria on behalf of Nusra Front and raising money for the cause, according to court documents.

“When challenged about his truthfulness, he admitted his true identity,” Mr. Flowers of the FBI wrote in a court affidavit. It wasn’t clear from court documents how agents reacted to Mr. Mohamud’s reversal.

And yet, Mohamud was allowed to obtain a U.S. passport and travel to Turkey six weeks later, where he joined up with terror operatives after crossing the border into Syria.

After Mohamud returned to the U.S. last June, the newly unsealed court documents claim that he then began weapons training with others in the Columbus area. The Wall Street Journal article continues:

Three months after he returned from training with violent extremists in Syria, a 23-year-old Ohio man hosted a shooting group at a local gun range, federal authorities allege in newly unsealed court papers.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud rented a shooting lane in the Columbus area last September, court papers say. When a range officer offered to instruct him and his two associates how to use their borrowed pistol, Mr. Mohamud allegedly declined, implying he could teach the others.

“Organizing weapons training is consistent with individuals who previously obtained training from … training camps to, upon return to their homeland, seek to recruit a group of young male adults in order to lead them to be like-minded jihadist believers prepared to fight,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen Flowers wrote in court documents.

For eight months until his arrest in late February this year, Mohamud was allowed to roam freely within the U.S. and train others in handling firearms.

Here is a timeline of events:

Feb. 18, 2014: Mohamud becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Feb. 20, 2014: The FBI interviews Mohamud, during which time he is caught lying about his identity. The same day he communicates with his brother already in Syria about his travel plans to join him.

Feb. 25, 2014: Mohamud applies for a U.S. passport.

April 8, 2014: He purchases a one-way airline ticket with a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

April 18, 2014: He departs the U.S. and arrives in Turkey the following day.

June 3, 2014: His older brother, Aden, is reported killed fighting in Syria.

June 8, 2014: He returns to the U.S.

Approx. Sept 2014: He trains others in handling weapons at a Columbus firing range.

Feb. 25, 2015: Mohamud is arrested on state terrorism support charges.

April 16, 2015: He is indicted by a federal grand jury.

Even with an FBI informant among Mohamud’s associates, it would be hard to paint this as the Bureau’s finest hour. As I noted here at PJ Media last week, the FBI has been less than forthcoming to the public about the scope of the threat of U.S. persons who have traveled to fight in Syria and the number of those who have returned.

As additional details become available, it may become even more clear how the FBI botched the handling of this potential threat.

***

Terrorism expert Patrick Poole discusses the latest on threats from ISIS and other extremist groups operating in the American heartland.

 

Minnesota Martyrs

 

Also see:

Alabama woman joins ISIS – CAIR responds

Hoda Muthana

Hoda Muthana

By Cultural Jihad, April 21, 2015:

Hoda said that her parents weren’t entirely in the dark about what their daughter’s newfound religious interest might lead to. “They didn’t know I was leaving, but they had an idea,” Hoda said. “They’d see news reports about girls who have made it [to Syria] and say things like, ‘Hoda would probably do that.’’’
BuzzFeed Interiview

A 20-year-old Alabama woman joined ISIS after receiving an innocent graduation gift

From:  www.businessinsider.com
By: Reuters and Pamela Engel, April 21, 2015

A 20-year-old woman from a Birmingham, Alabama, suburb has left the US to join the Islamic State militant group in Syria, the local broadcaster WIAT reported on Monday.

Hoda Muthana made contact with militants through social media and had been distancing herself from other Muslims in Hoover for more a year before leaving, said family spokesman Hassan Shibly, according to WIAT. Her family reportedly fled Yemen for the US more than 20 years ago.

Hoda’s father, Mohammed, told BuzzFeed that his daughter’s introduction to social media started with the smartphone he gave her as a high-school graduation gift in 2013.

She wasn’t technically allowed to have social-media accounts or post photos of herself (though her brothers were), but she apparently found a way around that.

Mohammed said he sometimes took her phone to check what was on it. He told BuzzFeed: “When I get the phone from her, sometimes she scared, and I thought, ‘What do you have?’”

During the year and a half before she left for Syria, Hoda became more devoutly religious. She told BuzzFeed that it was due in part to Islamic lectures she found on the internet.

Hoda said her parents noticed her becoming more religious and “liked the change until they saw me getting ‘jihadi.’”

In 2013, Hoda secretly set up a Twitter account that allowed her to find and connect with Islamic State members and supporters, including Aqsa Mahmood, who left her home in Scotland to join the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

COMMENT/ANALYSIS: The cited Buzzfeed article provides additional details relating to this story and leaves the impression that Hoda’s radicalization was not exactly a surprise to those around her and probably not the result of getting a cell phone.

The Birmingham, AL   Muslim community  is centered around the Birmingham Islamic Society (BIS)  and we mentioned the area when Randy Wilson was arrested on terrorism related charges in 2012.  In a Washington post article, BIS president Ashfaq Taufique stated that Wilson had attended a Muslim school in Birmingham when he was younger.

The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is well represented in Alabama, especially in the locations around Birmingham and Huntsville.   These type of Islamic radical recruiting incidents bring unwanted attention to the area and it would be safe to assume that damage/media control is considered a high priority.  With this in mind, it’s not surprising that the identified family spokesman Hassan Shibly, is the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)  Florida – someone frequently called upon to handle high profile PR matters for CAIR.

In regards to CAIR, The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch notes

In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR.  In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.”

***

 

Sweet home? Raqqa, Muthana's new home city, is pictured above. It is the target of regular airstrikes, one of which killed Muthana's husband

Sweet home? Raqqa, Muthana’s new home city, is pictured above. It is the target of regular airstrikes, one of which killed Muthana’s husband

Also see:

Ohio Arrest Shows Threat to U.S. from Al-Qaeda in Syria

ohiolg_0

What now for the U.S.’ relationship with Al-Nusra after an American goes to Syria for jihadist training and returns to commit terrorism?

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 19, 2015:

Al-Nusrah American citizen Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was indicted after a cleric associated with Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda in Syria) ordered him to carry out an attack here, the Justice Department announced. His plot to attack a military base in Texas was thwarted. The involvement of Al-Nusra will make it difficult for the U.S. to keep looking the other way as it gains territory in Syria.

Originally from Somalia, Mohamud grew up in the U.S. He lives in Columbus, Ohio and Islamist radicalism seems to be a family affair in this case. His brother died fighting for Al-Qaeda in Syria and was apparently a major influence in Mohamud’s radicalization.

Their younger brother, Abdiqani Aden, was arrested earlier this month during a visit to Mohamud because he made a gun symbol with his hands and pointed towards the sheriff’s deputies. He was speaking in a foreign language at the time. This is especially threatening because Mohamud’s second-choice target was a prison.

The government’s monitoring of communication between the two older brothers shows their motivations were not frustration with U.S. foreign policy or personal trials. They were inspired by a glorification of those who die in violent jihad and a belief that such “martyrs” are guaranteed entry into heaven.

His brother left the U.S. in May 2013 and went to Syria to link up with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing. Mohamud’s travel arrangements involved Al-Nusra members and that is presumably the group he joined, but his online postings showed his loyalty was with ISIS. Al-Nusra facilitators appear to have been surprisingly unconcerned by this.

This may indicate the rift between the leadership of ISIS and Al-Qaeda isn’t necessarily trickling down to most of the membership. The attacks in Paris are another example where Al-Qaeda and ISIS supporters worked together despite the quarrels of their leaders.

His brother was killed in June 2014 and he returned home afterwards. Mohamud told a close associate that he completed his training with an unidentified terrorist group in Syria and a cleric told him to return to the U.S. to carry out an attack. The indictment charges Mohamud with providing material support to Al-Nusra, so it appears that he never joined ISIS.

Mohamud began plotting but two unidentified individuals close to him reported their dialogues to the FBI and likely recorded them. One was a friend of his for three years and all indications point to one or both of these informants being Muslim. This is another example of why the demonization of informants by groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is so dangerous.

Mohamud decided his preference was to attack a military site with a prison as a backup option. He chose a base in Texas and hoped to execute three or four U.S. soldiers before achieving “martyrdom.” The FBI arrested him before he could start putting the details together.

The cleric’s involvement is an important detail because it threatens to unravel the Obama Administration’s façade that Al-Nusra isn’t a direct threat to America. It also indicates the group is putting an increased emphasis on hitting us at home.

The U.S. realized in September the air campaign against ISIS needed to include a unit within Al-Nusra named the Khorasan Group that was orchestrating terror plots against the West. The problem is that Al-Nusra is much more popular than ISIS and works closely with other Syrian rebels, including ones the U.S. supported and anticipated relying upon to fight ISIS on the ground.

The desire to avoid alienating Al-Qaeda-allied Syrian rebels and their supporters led the Obama Administration to begin promoting a myththat the Khorasan Group is an independent entity that is somehow illogically linked to Al-Qaeda but not Al-Nusra. The New York Timesrepeated it in its coverage of this case.

The myth is harmful to U.S. interests and anti-Islamist Syrians because it distances Al-Nusra from Al-Qaeda, thereby giving it a higher ceiling of public support. A Zogby poll in November found the population of Turkey favors Al-Nusra above all other participants in the Syrian civil war. A whopping 40% of Turks support Al-Nusra the most.

The indications are that Mohamud’s Syrian cleric is from Al-Nusra but it’s still significant he’s in ISIS because that would mean it is now dispatching operatives from the region to America. That would be a shift from relying on so-called “lone wolves” inside the U.S. who plan terrorism because they’ve determined that traveling to the Caliphateis unlikely to succeed.

It is true that Mohamud’s case is important because it’s the first publicly-acknowledged case of an American going to Syria for jihadist training and returning home to commit terrorism, but there’s a bigger point to be made. The U.S. is at war with Jabhat al-Nusra because it is at war with Al-Qaeda. If a Syrian rebel partner doesn’t approve of the U.S. recognizing that unavoidable fact, then that’s not a partner worth having.

Ohio man who trained with al Qaeda cell in Syria arrested after returning to US with directive to carry out terror attack

Terror suspect: Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, from Columbus, Ohio, has been arrested and charged with supporting terrorism after getting training in Syria

Terror suspect: Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, from Columbus, Ohio, has been arrested and charged with supporting terrorism after getting training in Syria

  • Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, from Columbus, said he got training from terror group linked to al Qaeda in Syria
  • Was instructed by cleric to return to US and carry out terror attack 
  • His suspected plan was to go to a military base and kill three-four soldiers ‘execution-style’ 
  • Mohamud was arrested in February on state charges of money laundering and providing support for terrorism 
  • If convicted in federal case, the 3-year-old could face up to 40 years in prison  

Daily Mail, April 16, 2015:

A 23-year-old resident of Columbus, Ohio, who trained with a group affiliated with al Qaeda has been arrested and charged with plotting an attack on American soil, the Justice Department revealed today.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a naturalized American citizen of Somali descent, had been instructed by a cleric to return to the United States and carry out an act of terrorism, the indictment said.

The Justice Department stated that Mohamud was also an Islamic State sympathizer, and that his brother, Abdifatah Aden, was killed fighting with the group in Syria in 2013.

According to court documents, Mohamud left the US a year ago with the intent to go to Syria and train with a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda in Iraq.

In April 2014, he purchased a one-way ticket to Greece, but during a layover in Istanbul he failed to board a connecting flight to Athens and instead made his way to Syria.

Once he reached his destination, Mohamud stated that he received training in shooting weapons, breaking into houses, explosives and hand-to-hand combat.

The 23-year-old Columbus man aloes said that after completing his training, a cleric with the group Jabhat al-Nusrah instructed him to return to the US and commit an act of terror.

The 23-year-old returned to the US in June 2014 with a plot to attack a military base or a correctional facility, targeting people in uniform, according to court documents.

‘Mohamud talked about doing something big in the United States,’ the papers cited by ABC News indicate. ‘He wanted to go to a military base in Texas and kill three or four American soldiers execution style.’

On Thursday, Mohamud was indicted on one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

The first two counts, providing material support to terrorists and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization are each crimes punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Making false statements involving international terrorism carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.

Mohamud was arrested on state charges February 21, 2015, and is expected to be transferred into federal custody based on today’s indictment.

Before Mohamud’s brother was killed in battle on or around June 3, 2014, the two had exchanged emails discussing the 23-year-old’s plans to travel to Syria and fight with Islamic State.

In February, Mohamud asked Abdifatah Aden how he could send him money.

Later that month, Mohamud was arrested at his Columbus home for allegedly providing a computer tablet an other material support to terroist organizations aborad.

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien at the time asked a judge to set Mohamud’s bond at $1million saying he was a flight risk and posed a threat to public safety.

Mohamud’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, insisted that his client was not a terrorist and would not flee because he was taking care of his ailing mother in Ohio.

Jerry Gordon at NER comments:

This indictment of Mohamud  is reflective of deep problems arising from  a virtually UN controlled  US Refugee Program  subsidizing the  growth  of a population in this country that  reject  American values and laws and are  prone to recruitment as  Jihadis by  Al Qaeda  and the Islamic State.

US Analyst Admits: “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Have Been Working With Al-Qaeda All Along

syrian-rebels-terrorists-400x294PJ Media, By Patrick Poole On April 16, 2015:

One of the most closely guarded secrets in Washington DC about US involvement in the Syrian war is that he “moderate” rebels that the Obama administration (and many Republicans) backed were closely aligned with Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, and at times with the Islamic State.

For regular PJ Media readers this will come as no surprise as I’ve repeatedly documented the ties between the State Department’s “vetted moderate” rebel groups and designated terrorist groups based on snippets of reporting that challenged the administration’s official narrative.

But with the “moderate” rebels on their heels and in retreat from internecine pressure from Jabhat al-Nusra, Brookings Institute-Doha Syria analyst Charles Lister, who has probably had as much direct contact with “rebel” leaders as any other US analyst, has finally admitted to the long-time cooperation between “moderates” and “extremists”.

In an article published last month on the Brookings website, Lister states:

This latter alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra has been a consistent facet of insurgent dynamics in Syria, but not only in terms of conservative Salafist groups like Ahrar al-Sham. In fact, while rarely acknowledged explicitly in public, the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012 – and to great effect on the battlefield. But while this pragmatic management of relationships may have secured opposition military victories against the regime, it has also come at an extraordinary cost. The assimilation of Al-Qaeda into the broader insurgency has discouraged the U.S. and its European allies from more definitively backing the ‘moderate’ opposition. That, by extension, has encouraged the intractability of the conflict we see today and the rise of jihadist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra, IS, and many others.

A year-and-a-half ago, uttering this outside of the polite company of the DC foreign policy “smart set”, where the official narrative of administration and the McCain/Graham “war at any cost” wing of the GOP was that the vast majority of rebels were moderate as expressed in John Kerry’s testimony before McCain’s committee in September 2013, would have gotten you branded a heretic. Such deep and complex truths were unworthy of the unwashed American masses at a time when many in DC were openly calling for more heavy weapons to be sent to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

But with the sudden surge of ISIS last June and the announcement of the re-establishment of the Islamic State the narrative was getting harder to publicly maintain even as the Obama administration did in fact begin sending heavy weaponry to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

The DC “smart set” and the establishment media then began to drop hints that the “vetted moderate” rebels were not so moderate after all, but certainly nothing so candid to give the whole game away. Hence why Lister notes that the rebel cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra going back to mid-2012 (Nusra announced its formation in January 2012) was “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public”.

Now with things going very badly in Syria and Iraq the “smart set” is divided between walking back their support for the rebels or doubling-down by saying the US needs to begin backing “moderate Al-Qaeda”.

The media too has been more forthcoming about our “vetted moderate” allies since American reporters began losing their heads under Islamic State knives.

In late October, American journalist Theo Padnos, who was captured by the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and then given over to Jabhat al-Nusra told the story of his two-year captivity in the New York Times Magazine. At one point Padnos says he escaped from his Al-Qaeda captors and found himself back in the hands of the FSA, who then again promptly turned him back over to the terror group.

Padnos also relates this exchange with some US-trained FSA fighters that exposes the glaring weaknesses of the CIA’s vetting system:

I returned to the F.S.A. troops. One told me that his unit had recently traveled to Jordan to receive training from American forces in fighting groups like the Nusra Front.

“Really?” I said. “The Americans? I hope it was good training.”

“Certainly, very,” he replied.

The fighters stared at me. I stared at them.

After a few moments, I asked, “About this business of fighting Jebhat al Nusra?”

“Oh, that,” one said. “We lied to the Americans about that.”

The treatment of Padnos by the FSA is important to recall in light of the revelations yesterday and today that that a NBC News crew taken captive in Syria in December 2012, and who later repeatedly claimed they had been held by an Assad regime militia, now admit following a New York Times investigation that they were in fact held by a FSA criminal network. Even more, there’s evidence that NBC News executives knew from the time of the crew’s capture that they were held by US allies, but allowed the blame to fall on Assad since that didn’t conflict with the Obama administration’s position at the time.

An example of this new-found openness on the part of the establishment media was an Associated Press report in late November that noted the close cooperation of US-backed rebels with Al-Qaeda in southern Syria:

The gains are a contrast to northern Syria, where U.S.-backed rebels are collapsing in the face of an assault by Islamic militants. Notably, in the south, the rebels are working together with fighters from al Qaeda’s Syria branch, whose battle-hardened militants have helped them gain the momentum against government forces. The cooperation points to the difficulty in American efforts to build up “moderate” factions while isolating extremists.

Over the past year I’ve reported here at PJ Media on the slow cracks emerging in the official “vetted moderate rebel” narrative:

July 7: US ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Sept 3: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept 9: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept 10: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept 24: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov 2: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov 3:  How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov 24: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec 2: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec 28: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective Al-Qaeda Control

March 3: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

So it’s refreshing to see the DC “smart set” and the establishment media finally fessing up to what has been going on in Syria, but “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public,” but the damage done by the Obama administration’s policy (backed up by the McCain/Graham GOP chorus) and the hundreds of thousands dead is irreversible.

Who in DC or the media will be held to account for this failure?

Benghazi suspect designated by UN, State Department

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LWJ, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | April 15, 2015:

The State Department added Ali Ouni Harzi to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists yesterday. Harzi, who is based in Syria, “joined Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T) in 2011 and was a high-profile member known for recruiting volunteers, facilitating the travel of AAS-T fighters to Syria, and for smuggling weapons and explosives into Tunisia,” according to State.

Curiously, the State Department’s designation page does not mention Harzi’s role in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks.

Days earlier, the United Nations (UN) added Harzi to the Security Council’s al Qaeda sanctions list. The UN’s designation page for Harzi reads: “Planned and perpetrated the attack against the Consulate of the United States in Benghazi, Libya on 11 Sep. 2012.”

Indeed, Harzi was one of the first suspects in the Benghazi attack to be publicly identified. The Daily Beast first reported that Harzi’s involvement in the assault on the US Mission and Annex were discovered after US officials learned that he had “posted an update on social media about the fighting shortly after it had begun.” This was “[o]ne of the first clues the intelligence community had about the perpetrators” in Benghazi.

Harzi was apprehended in Turkey in October 2012 at the behest of US officials. He was making his way to Syria at the time.

After being deported to Tunisia, Harzi was held for weeks. In December 2012, FBI agents questioned him about the Benghazi attack. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization, stalked the agents. The group posted their pictures online while condemning the Tunisian government for allowing the FBI to interview Harzi. That same month Ansar al Sharia Tunisia released a video discussing Harzi’s case and confirming the FBI’s role in his questioning.

In early January 2013, despite his suspected role in the death of four Americans, Harzi was released. Ansar al Sharia posted a video celebrating Harzi’s release. Harzi made some brief comments in the video, which showed him being congratulated by his fellow jihadists.

US officials, including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Brennan, who became the CIA director, were asked about Harzi’s release during congressional hearings.

In late January 2013, Clinton told senators that the Tunisians had “assured” the United States that Harzi was “under the monitoring of the court.” In February, during his confirmation process to become CIA director, Brennan claimed that the US government “didn’t have anything on” Harzi and, therefore, his release was not worrisome.

As the UN’s designation shows, however, there has long been evidence that Harzi was directly involved in the Benghazi attack. And Tunisian authorities clearly failed to keep tabs on Harzi.

On February 6, 2013, a left-wing Tunisian politician named Chokri Belaid was assassinated. Then, on July 25, another popular politician, Mohamed Brahmi, was killed. The following day Tunisian authorities claimed that Harzi was involved in both assassinations. However, neither the UN nor the State Department designations mention this allegation. Another Ansar al Sharia Tunisia member who went on to join the Islamic State has boasted of his role in planning the murders.

In March of this year, the Tunisian National Guard issued an arrest warrant for Harzi.

In addition to Ali Ouni Harzi (whose name is often spelled Ali Ani al Harzi in the press), the UN designated Tarak Ouni Harzi, Ali’s brother. Tarak was a known facilitator for al Qaeda in Iraq. Tarak was a “dangerous and active member of Al Qaida in Iraq” as of 2004, according to the UN and “also active in facilitating and hosting members of Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia…in Syria.” Tarak was sentenced, “in absentia, on 30 October 2007, to 24 years imprisonment for terrorist activities by the Appeals Court of Tunis.”

Despite being wanted by international authorities, both of the Harzi brothers remain at large. It is not clear if they are working for the Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, or some other jihadist groups in Syria.

The leader of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, Abu Iyad al Tunisi, remains free as well. Al Tunisi is a longtime al Qaeda operative who helped orchestrate the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis on Sept. 14, 2012, just three days after the Benghazi attack. The State Department has also designated Abu Iyad as an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist and noted his role in the Sept. 14 assault.

Both Ansar al Sharia Libya, which was one of the al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, and Ansar al Sharia Tunisia have operated as part of al Qaeda’s network in North Africa.

Daniel Pipes outmaneuvers RT reporter in interview on the Iran negotiations

Russia-Today-LogoRussian news channel RT’s Oksana Boyko aggressively interviews Daniel Pipes on the Iran negotiations and Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Pipes handles it masterfully!

h/t Vlad Tepes

Virginia state senator cited by Islamic State’s magazine

Sen. Richard H. Black (Associated Press)

Sen. Richard H. Black (Associated Press)

 The Washington Times, April 8, 2015:

Virginia state Sen. Richard H. Black calls it a badge of honor to have been singled out as an enemy of the Islamic State in the current issue of its English-language magazine Dabiq, but the Loudoun County Republican says he feels for others targeted by the terrorist group.

“I’m more concerned about the Christians in the Middle East and the American soldiers and their families that have been put on the ISIS hit list,” Mr. Black told The Washington Times, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “I am deeply concerned about the fate of Christians in the Middle East.”

Mr. Black, who was made aware of his mention in the magazine’s eighth edition via a courtesy call by the Virginia Capitol Police, is just the latest politician or analyst to find himself singled out in Dabiq as a “crusader” trying to stop the ascent of the radical Muslim movement.

The new issue, distributed late last month, labels former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a potential 2016 presidential hopeful, as “the Catholic crusader,” and it dubs both Mr. Black and former CIA operative Gary Berntsen as “the American crusader.”

Previous issues have gone after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, journalists and military analysts — usually quoting them touting the dangers posed by the Islamic State as a way of stressing the group’s importance in international affairs.

Analysts say Dabiq is designed to be a recruiting tool for jihadists from the West. One issue contained an article justifying burning alive a Jordanian air force pilot who had been held captive by the group; other issues proclaimed military successes and jeered at far-flung nations, warning them not to get involved in the fight.

The objective of the “In the Words of the Enemy” section in which the men are featured is to boost the morale of supporters and recruit Islamists who don’t support the group, said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, an educational group that studies Islamist extremism and catalogs the magazine.

“The last issue’s section had a tone of defensiveness,” Mr. Mauro said in an e-mail. “ISIS had just lost the battle in Kobani and the group could not claim victory there without losing all credibility, so they used the comments of enemies to point out its successes elsewhere and to minimize the setback without denying it.”

U.S. airstrikes and Kurdish troops in late January broke the Islamic State’s months-long siege of the Syrian town of Kobani near Turkey’s border. The terrorist group still controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq.

In the latest magazine, Mr. Black is quoted as saying he sees the fight in Syria as the “center of gravity for Western civilization.”

“If it falls, then we will begin to see a very rapid advance of Islam on Europe and I think ultimately, potentially, the collapse of all of Europe,” he said in a recent interview with the Russian news outlet RT.

Mr. Black said Tuesday that he sees his inclusion as confirmation that what he has said about the group is accurate.

“If we topple Syria, we create a dangerous vacuum for ISIS and al Qaeda to fill,” Mr. Black said. “And if the [dreaded] black-and-white flag flies over Damascus, then Jordan will fall and Lebanon will fall in fairly short order.”

Mr. Mauro said ISIS used Mr. Black’s statement “to argue that Syria should be the top priority of jihadists around the world because victory there would lead to the collapse of Europe and Western civilization.”

He said the terrorists cited a quote from Mr. Santorum about the group’s strength to argue that ISIS is getting stronger and more popular, and that their quoting Mr. Berntsen as saying the group is the most successful Sunni terrorist group in history was used “to imply Allah’s favor and to encourage supporters of other groups like al Qaeda to unite behind them.”

Mr. Black, as a state senator, does not have the authority to directly influence U.S. foreign policy, but he attracted attention last year when he wrote a thank you letter to Syrian President Bashar Assad for his army’s liberating and defending Christians in the area.

Mr. Santorum, for his part, said he was named by the group because he “told the truth about them.”

“I went and used their own words, very clearly stated what their intention is, laid it right out there for the American public,” Mr. Santorum said this week on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” “Most Americans know who they are. It’s just we have an administration that refuses to identify them, and the problem with that is they’re developing policies based on a false premise. And that means that as I said in that article, they’re gonna get stronger, not weaker, because we’re not doing what’s necessary to defeat them.”

The magazine quotes Mr. Santorum from a February appearance on Fox News in which he said the Islamic State is “dead serious” about expanding its “caliphate.”

“As long as they hold ground and continue to expand that ground, more and more will come,” Mr. Santorum said then. “The fact that we are delaying means that the caliphate continues to exist. They’re not losing ground. They’re not being discredited in the eyes of the Muslim world. They will get stronger.”

They’re Here: A Week of Jihad in America

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher Holton, April 4, 2015:

Americans seem to be oblivious or desensitized to the growing evidence that Jihad is hitting the streets here in America. About a week ago or so we posted a rundown of recent Jihadi activity on the continent of Africa, illustrating the fact that it has become the central front in the global Jihadist insurgency:

http://terrortrendsbulletin.com/2015/03/28/africa-on-fire-jihad-on-the-march/

What may not be apparent is the escalating level of Jihadi activity here in the USA. Even attacks such as those that occurred in 2014 in Moore, Oklahoma (beheading of a grandmother by a former Muslim co-worker) and Queens, New York (hatchet attack on NYPD officers) were far from front page news.

Such incidents are almost always reflexively followed by the meant-to-be-comforting caveat…”no known connection to a terrorist organization.” This is actually more alarming than it is comforting as it is an indication that a revolutionary atmosphere has developed in the US Muslim community that has prompted individual Muslims to act on the calls to Jihad that we have seen from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other Jihadi leaders.

We’ve decided to post recent articles about Jihadi arrests, plots and cases that have appeared in the news to illustrate that, well, the enemy is indeed here in our midst and active. Keep in mind that these are only the enemy that our law enforcement community has publicly identified, pursued and apprehended…

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In just the last week, Jihadis from Texas, Philadelphia and New York have been apprehended…note also mention of a Jihadi from Minnesota…

U.S. prosecutors in New York City and Philadelphia charged four people with terrorism-related crimes, including two Queens women who allegedly discussed making bombs with an undercover federal agent.

Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, were accused of conspiring to prepare an explosive device to detonate in the U.S.

A Texas man, Muhanad Mahmoud al Farekh, was charged separately with seeking to train alongside Muslim militants who allegedly plotted to attack New York City subways.

Friday, U.S. prosecutors announced charges against a Philadelphia woman, Keonna Thomas, accused of attempting to join Islamic State. The government said she posted items expressing support for the group on Twitter, and communicated online with a Somalia-based jihadi fighter from Minnesota, a radical Islamic cleric and an ISIS fighter in Syria.

Velentzas allegedly praised the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and declared that she and Siddiqui were “citizens of the Islamic State.” Siddiqui had repeated contact with members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including propagandist Samir Khan, former editor of Inspire, al-Qaeda’s English-language online magazine, the U.S. alleged in court papers.

Khan, who was killed in Yemen in 2011, published articles including “I am proud to be a traitor to America” and “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” according to prosecutors.

In discussions with the undercover officer last year, the women allegedly said they were learning “science” in order to build a bomb. They later said they were reading technical books and learning about making homemade grenades, pipe bombs and pressure-cooker bombs, the U.S. alleged.

Siddiqui wrote jihadist poetry with lines about dropping bombs and referred to “nations wiped clean of filthy shrines,” according to the government. She obtained multiple propane tanks and had instructions for using them as explosives, prosecutors alleged.

Farekh [the Texas man], who studied at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, is accused of leaving the school for Pakistan in 2007, joining others seeking to train for attacks against U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan. He was eventually deported from Pakistan.

An alleged co-conspirator, Ferid Imam, aided a plot to attack the New York City subways, according to the government. That plot was foiled in 2009.

In the Philadelphia case, Thomas, who allegedly went by the name “YoungLioness,” was asked by an ISIS fighter if she wanted to be involved in a martyrdom operation. Thomas, 30, responded by stating, “that would be amazing….a girl can only wish,” according to the government. She was arrested after purchasing tickets to fly overseas, prosecutors said.

The cases are U.S. v. Velentzas, 15-mj-00303, and USA v. AL Farekh,1:15-mj-00021, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-02/two-new-york-women-charged-by-u-s-in-alleged-terrorist-plot

There have been separate reports that Velentzas and Siddiqui sought to attack a police funeral to maximize casualties among U.S. law enforcement and that one of the two put on a veneer of patriotism with an American flag displayed in front of her home.

Noelle Velentzas...Note her affiliation with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), one of the largest Islamic organizations in America

Asia Siddiqui

Some more stories on the two female Jihadis:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/04/02/fbi-arrests-two-new-york-city-women-for-alleged-isis-inspired-bomb-plot/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/04/02/two-nyc-women-who-declared-themselves-citizens-of-the-islamic-state-charged-with-plotting-to-set-off-bombs-in-the-u-s/

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Terror-Arrest-New-York-FBI-NYPD-Police-297422441.html

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Velentzas and Siddiqui were apparently tied to Tairoid Pugh, the US Air Force veteran who was arrested in March for joining the Islamic State:

A one-time Air Force mechanic whose radical beliefs had him on the FBI’s radar since the late 1990s has been charged in federal court in Brooklyn with trying to join the Islamic State terror group..

Tairod Pugh, 47, of Neptune, New Jersey, allegedly did Internet searches for border crossings into Syria and downloaded execution videos by the jihadist group, before traveling from Egypt to Turkey in January to fight for the group…

After being turned away, the government said, he wiped most of his electronic devices of evidence but kept a picture of a machine gun on his phone. Deported from Egypt to the United States, he was charged in a sealed complaint in January, and indicted this week.

“Pugh, an American citizen, was willing to travel overseas and fight jihad alongside terrorists seeking to do us harm,” Diego Rodriguez, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement.

In February, three Brooklyn men were accused of plotting to aid the terror group, including two who planned to join, authorities said.

Court papers said Pugh served in the Air Force as an avionics instrument system specialist from 1986 to 1990, and worked for American Airlines and a military contractor in Iraq. Overseas for the past 12 to 18 months, he allegedly lost his last job as a mechanic in Kuwait in December.

The government said Pugh converted to Islam in 1998. In 2001, a co-worker allegedly tipped the FBI that Pugh sympathized with Osama bin Laden and held anti-American views. In 2002, an associate said Pugh hoped to fight jihad in Chechnya.

But the government said he objected to deportation from Egypt because the “U.S. doesn’t like black Muslims.” A search of his laptop revealed 180 jihadist videos and an email intended for his Egyptian wife, according to the criminal complaint.

“I am a Mujahid,” said the email. “. . . There is only two possible outcomes for me. Victory or Martyr.”

http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/tairod-nathan-webster-pugh-u-s-air-force-vet-charged-in-plot-to-aid-islamic-state-group-feds-say-1.10072309

Tairod Pugh: Air Force veteran, former American Airlines employee and long-time Jihadi

Note in the article above the mention of the three Brooklyn men indicted on terror charges in February.

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Here is an article about the Philadelphia woman who faces terrorism charges…

Authorities charged a Philadelphia woman on Friday with attempting to join Islamic State…

Keonna Thomas, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen who went by “YoungLioness” online, was arrested before she could travel to Syria and join the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, according to a criminal complaint. 

Last month she bought a plane ticket to Barcelona, court records show, and was due to fly on March 29. Federal agents executed a search warrant at her home on March 27 and seized evidence, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia said. 

Ms. Thomas, who is charged with knowingly attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, was ordered held until a detention hearing next week.

Ms. Thomas’s postings on social media drew the attention of law enforcement, according to an affidavit from a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent.

But her case differs from other recent prosecutions of Islamic State sympathizers because it doesn’t appear to rely on an undercover FBI operative working with the target. Instead, the FBI intercepted communications between Ms. Thomas and an overseas Islamic fighter, among others. In them, she allegedly expressed her desire to travel to join the group in Syria.

In the past 18 months, dozens of Americans—from Colorado to Minnesota to New York—have faced criminal charges related to ISIS. 

Ms. Thomas’s alleged support of Islamic State dates to 2013, according to court filings. The FBI affidavit claims that in August 2013 she reposted a picture on Twitter showing a camouflage-clad boy wearing firearm magazine pouches, with this caption: “Ask yourselves, while this young man is holding magazines for the Islamic state, what are you doing for it? #ISIS.”

In December 2013, court filings show, she exchanged messages with a man described by the FBI as a Somali-based violent jihadi fighter from Minnesota. Ms. Thomas allegedly told him she planned to “leave the land of kufr [nonbelievers]” and would travel once she got enough money.

In January 2014 she tweeted, “Only thing I’m jealous of is when I see the smiles of shuhadaa [martyrs],” according to court records, which allege that she posted messages throughout the year that appeared to support ISIS.

In late January of this year, the FBI alleges, she sent a message to a radical Islamic cleric in Jamaica in which she wrote, “i don’t want to say much here….as of now im still here in the states but will be leaving soon.”

Five days later she applied for a passport and in mid-February told the cleric she had deactivated her Twitter account, saying, according to court records, “don’t want to draw attention of the kuffar [nonbelievers] and it mess my plans and they take my pass port and I get stuck here.”

On Feb. 17, the FBI affidavit says, the known overseas fighter wrote to her: “U probably want to do Istishadee [martyrdom operations] with me.” She allegedly replied: “that would be amazing….a girl can only wish.”

“I can make that wish come true,” the militant allegedly responded.

She researched indirect travel routes to Turkey, a common transit point to Syria, according to the complaint. Among them was flying to Spain to avoid suspicion, then traveling by bus to Turkey.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/philadelphia-woman-keonna-thomas-charged-with-attempting-to-join-isis-1428078216

Keonna Thomas appearing in court after arrest on terrorism charges. Why she is allowed to appear in court covered that way is anyone's guess.

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Here is an article on Muhanad Mahmoud al Farekh, the Texas native indicted on terror charges…

A U.S. citizen accused of conspiring to support al Qaeda appeared in a federal court in New York on Thursday. Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 29, was charged with conspiracy, reports said, citing the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Farekh reportedly plotted with others to provide material support to the terrorists. He also helped them gain personnel to kill U.S. citizens and members of the U.S. military in other countries, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a charging document. Farekh was deported from Pakistan and arrested due to a pending warrant.

http://www.ibtimes.com/texas-born-al-qaeda-suspect-muhanad-mahmoud-al-farekh-accused-conspiring-aid-1868854

Texas born Al Qaeda terrorist Muhanad Mahmoud al Farekh

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Another Jihadi case surfaced in Illinois over a week ago when two cousins–one a soldier with the Illinois Army National Guard–were arrested on terrorism charges:

An Army National Guard member and his cousin have been arrested in Illinois for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist organization ISIS, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The alleged plot included a plan to attack a U.S. military installation in Illinois.

In the past 18 months, the Justice Department’s National Security Division has prosecuted or is prosecuting 32 cases of people attempting to travel abroad to join or providing support to terrorist groups. Of those cases, 18 allegedly involve support to ISIS. 

Spc. Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested Wednesday night at Chicago Midway International Airport while attempting to travel to Egypt to eventually join ISIS…

His cousin, Jonas “Yunus” Edmonds, 29, was arrested at his home in Aurora in connection with an alleged plot to carry out an armed attack on an unspecified U.S. military facility in northern Illinois where Hasan Edmonds had been training.

After an undercover FBI informant posing as an ISIS fighter outside the United States sent Hasan Edmonds a Facebook “friend” request in late 2014, he began to receive private messages from him indicating that he and his cousin were willing to travel to overseas and fight for ISIS, according to the court documents. 

“InshAllah we will complete our task or be grants [sic] shahada [Arabic for martyr] I look forward to the training,” Hasan Edmonds is alleged to have told the informant in January. “I am already in the American kafir army and now I wish only to serve in the army of Allah alongside my true brothers.”

They continued to communicate over the following weeks, with Hasan Edmonds expressing concerns about Jonas Edmonds’ criminal record and whether he would be allowed to travel overseas.

“They try hard to keep people like him trapped in America,” he told the undercover FBI employee. 

“I know several Muslims have been caught attempting the Turkey route so tell me why not many Americans take the Egypt route. I am open to either way,” Hasan Edmonds told the informant, according to court documents. 

On February 2, Hasan Edmonds contacted the undercover informant again and said his cousin was willing to carry out an attack on U.S. soil.

“Honestly we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” Hasan Edmonds stated, referring to the French terror attacks in January in which 16 people were killed.

Prosecutors said Jonas Edmonds contacted the informant to arrange travel accommodations.

“Number one on my list is Mosul,” he stated, referring to Iraq’s second-largest city. “If I find myself stuck here [in the United States], I intend to take advantage of being so close to the kuffar.” 

Jonas Edmonds this week accepted that he would be unable to travel and told the FBI informant of his intention to buy AK-47s and grenades to carry out an attack on the military facility. He would use his cousin’s uniform and “anticipated a body count of 100 to 150.” He was given a list of officer rankings by his cousin and advised to “kill the head,” according to court documents. 

Prosecutors said Jonas Edmonds planned to carry out the attack after Hasan Edmonds left the country.

Hasan Edmonds planned to use his military training to fight for the terrorist organization, prosecutors said in a statement. Hasan Edmonds booked airline travel to depart Wednesday from Chicago and arrive in Cairo on Thursday.

The cousins presented an undercover informant with plans to attacks the military facility, prosecutors said.

More than 20,000 fighters, from more than 90 countries, have traveled to the ISIS battlefield, according to the testimony of Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, before the House Homeland Security Committee.

The rate of foreign fighters traveling to Syria “exceeds the rate of travelers who went to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” Rasmussen said. 

Of those fighters, an estimated 3,400 are believed to have come from Western countries, including more than 150 from the United States, officials said.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/26/us/illinois-arrests-isis/

Jonas Edmonds--evidently no stranger to the penal system.

Hasan Edmonds

64790-004-EEE28645

Finally, in Boston, Americans for Peace and Tolerance have uncovered evidence of Jihadist indoctrination at the Islamic Society of Boston, which was the mosque attended by the Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon. It was also founded by Abduraham Alamoudi, who was later revealed to be an Al Qaeda terrorist and was convicted on terrorism charges…

Islamic Society of Boston: co-founded by Al Qaeda terrorist, mosque of Boston marathon bombers.

The Boston Marathon bombers’ mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), employs an intensive radicalizing program aimed at Boston’s historically moderate Muslim community, especially at its youth. It’s called “Tarbiya,” which is Arabic for “growth and refinement.” It is not something that is practiced as part of classical mainstream Islam.

APT has obtained several curriculum documents created by ISB-affiliated groups, which describe exactly what is taught and when, with assignments detailed down to book and page number.

Read the details on BreitBart.com…

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/03/27/revealed-jihadist-lessons-at-the-boston-marathon-bombers-mosque/

Also see:

 

Commencing jihad: ISIS posts photos of military ‘graduation’

The Twitter photos show a "graduating class" of ISIS fighters.

The Twitter photos show a “graduating class” of ISIS fighters.

Fox News, by  Malia Zimmerman, March 30, 2015:

The black-clad graduates listened intently as speakers inspired them to change the world, but instead of caps and gowns, they wore masks and fatigues, and in place of diplomas, they clutched AK-47s.

Photos posted online by the Islamic State in Syria in the last few days showed the terror group’s latest “graduating class,” which included dozens of foreign fighters who came to Syria to join the Islamic caliphate. The graduation pictures capped 18 months of training in ideology and weaponry at a university in Deir Az-Zour, in northern Syria, and grads are now ready to advance to killing in the cause of radical Islam. Experts say ISIS has reasons for attaching the formal trappings of commencement exercises to the training of its fighters.

“There are two messages being sent by ISIS besides the obvious shock factor: First, their caliphate is an actual functioning and legitimate state. Second, this is long-term struggle,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst and adjunct professor of Homeland Security for the Clarion Project. “This is a way of saying that ISIS has succeeded (in creating a state) where Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists have failed.”

By promoting their special force in a series of propaganda photos, experts said ISIS is sending a message to potential recruits that it has created a professional, deadly and well-equipped force ready to protect its expanding Caliphate.

“The graduation photos send a message by ISIS that it has a military capacity ready to defend the Islamic Caliphate – a ‘government’ that has not lost control and will be able to defend its ‘territory,’ said Jasmine Opperman, the African-based analyst for the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.

ISIS brigades have been on the attack for just over a year, advancing and expanding areas of control at an alarming rate, but as ISIS’s fighters prepare to defend their newly acquired territories, they also are changing tactics.

In the past, ISIS training programs were conducted near the Turkish border areas that serve as a main entry point for ISIS western fighters.

However, with ISIS creating pockets of control, training camps are being held in Libya and on the border areas between Tunisia and Algeria, Opperman said.

The skills required to advance their cause are changing. ISIS is creating what it calls “The Intractable Army,” with soldiers who can rappel from buildings, fight in cities and aim its rocket launchers with precision.

“In the battlefield of the immediate future, urban warfare will require more specialized skills such as the use of snipers,” Opperman said.

Foreign fighters are not the only graduates. ISIS is now training assassins as young as 8 years old, putting them through a formal “cubs” program, as well as launching their own three year medical school of sorts.

Analysts say ISIS wants to project an image of nationalistic military training.

Analysts say ISIS wants to project an image of nationalistic military training.

“One of the purposes of these photos is to show that they didn’t just seize territory; they transformed it into an attractive caliphate that is a viable alternative to other civilizations,” Mauro said. “ISIS and other Islamist groups are at odds over the legitimacy of al-Baghdadi’s caliphate, but they are in agreement that this is a ‘civilizational jihad’ against other systems influenced by the West.”

ISIS graduations feature their own celebrities of sorts. In a March 15 ceremony, Abu Waheeb, the leader of ISIS terrorist group in Iraq, who gained notoriety after executing Syrian Shiite truck drivers in Iraq in 2013, made an appearance where he rallied his troops.

UN: Record 25K-Plus Foreigners From 100 Countries Travel to Join ISIS, Al Qaeda

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Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, April 2, 2015:

The number of foreign fighters who have traveled to join the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al Qaeda in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries has reached a historic level, exceeding 25,000 from over 100 countries, reveals a new U.N. report.

A panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against al Qaeda prepared the report for the U.N. Security Council, which was obtained by The Associated Press and Reuters.

The experts found that Iraq and Syria housed most of the foreign fighters.

An estimated 22,000 foreigners linked to ISIS and al Qaeda are reportedly fighting in Iraq and Syria; nearly 6,500 in Afghanistan, hundreds more in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, and about 100 in Somalia.

Moreover, the experts report that foreigners have also joined terrorists in the Sahel countries in North Africa and the Philippines.

Although most of the fighters who traveled to Iraq and Syria joined ISIS, they also linked up with the Syrian al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra Front.

Iraq and Syria have become an “international finishing school for extremists,” the experts said.

The worldwide number of foreign terrorist fighters increased by 71 percent between mid-2014 and March 2015, added the panel, noting that the number of countries the fighters come form has also skyrocketed to over 100 today including nations that have never been linked to al Qaeda and other jihadist groups.

In the report, the experts mentioned that the flow of foreign fighters “is higher than it has ever been historically.”

The total number of foreigner fighters has “risen sharply from a few thousand… a decade ago to more than 25,000 today,” the panel said.

“For the thousands of [foreign fighters] who traveled to the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq… they live and work in a veritable ‘international finishing school’ for extremists, as was the case in Afghanistan during the 1990s,” it added.

A “high number” of the foreign fighters are from Tunisia, Morocco, France, and Russia.

However, there has also been an increase in fighters from the Maldives, Finland, Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, and unnamed countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Defeating ISIS could have the unintended consequence of scattering the foreign fighters across the world, the report warned, adding that some may be recruited by criminal networks.

Efforts to deal with the threat posed by the growing number of foreign fighters should focus on preventing the radicalization, recruitment and travel of the prospective fighters, suggested the U.N. report.

U.S. intelligence officials estimate that more than 150 U.S. citizens and residents have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

Sunni Jihadists Gain Ground in Syria

Syrians in the city of Idlib on Wednesday lined up to receive bread. The city was seized last weekend by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which said it would not try to monopolize power there. Credit Mohamad Bayoush/Reuters

Syrians in the city of Idlib on Wednesday lined up to receive bread. The city was seized last weekend by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which said it would not try to monopolize power there. Credit Mohamad Bayoush/Reuters

CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, April 1, 2015:

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front seized the provincial capital of Idlib in northwestern Syria this past weekend. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces withdrew after five days of intense fighting with a primarily al-Nusra-dominated coalition of rebels, all of whom are part of the multi-faceted Syrian opposition.

According to the “Army of Conquest”, the name of the coalition, 70 rebels were killed in the decisive battle. Beyond al-Nusra, other Islamist militias helped in the effort including Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa, Liwa al-Haqq, and Failaq al-Sham, and some smaller groups played a lesser role.

Al-Nusra said today that it will rule Idlib with sharia law, with the group’s leader Abu Mohamad al-Golani stating, “We salute the people of Idlib and their stand with their sons … God willing they will enjoy the justice of sharia, which will preserve their religion and their blood.” While the jihadists were battling the regime and now are trying to setup Islamic governance, hundreds of thousands of residents have reportedly fled the city.

Idlib has strategic significance for multiple reasons, including that it is 20 miles from the Turkish border, and one Syrian military source accused Turkey of helping the rebels take Idlib. Furthermore, Idlib is only the second provincial capital that Assad has lost, the first one being Raqqa. The Sunni jihadists are gaining ground and can consolidate their power in Idlib to move onto other strategic targets. Idlib is important for exerting control northeast toward Aleppo city, and the rebels are better suited to move towards Hama city and its military airfield or into the regime’s heartland.

As al-Nusra is imposing sharia law on Idlib, its main rival jihadist group, Islamic State (ISIS), seized most of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria’s capital. Al-Nusra members who defected to ISIS helped in the fight against Assad regime forces. According to the U.N., before the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Yarmouk was home to about 200,000 people; now, that number is down to 18,000.

ISIS has been attempting to push into western Syria, far way from its main strongholds, for months. The group is trying to establish sleeper cells in the areas around Damascus and maintain a firm presence there. While the regime has strong checkpoints to repel attackers from Damascus, ISIS’s presence so near to the capital indicates that they are getting closer.

While these two developments are occurring, Syrian rebels, including Jabhat al-Nusra, were fighting Wednesday with regime forces along the Jordanian border. The rebels attacked the main border crossing between the two countries on the Syrian side, known as the Nasib post, causing Jordan to close the area. According to Conflict News, al-Nusra militants captured the border crossing on the same day. If true, Jordan will rightfully be concerned about the fighting’s proximity to its border, especially while it has been dealing with an influx of Syrian refugees throughout the civil war.

All of these stories show the increasingly chaotic situation in Syria. While ISIS is adding territory to its self-declared caliphate, the al-Nusra front is also quietly gaining territory. Both groups’ success will only increase their propaganda and bring in more recruits. With Sunni jihadists groups on the move and the Assad regime trying to hold onto as much of the country as possible, there seems to be no good foreseeable outcome. The conflict will only get more complicated as the fighting gets closer to Turkish and Jordanian territory and Islamist rebels get closer to Damascus.

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Nusra Front quietly rises in Syria as Islamic State targeted

Protesters hold the Jabhat al-Nusra flag during a demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Assad in Idlib province, northern Syria, in March 2013. The Nusra Front, Syria's al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group. HUSSEIN MALLA, FILE/AP

Protesters hold the Jabhat al-Nusra flag during a demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Assad in Idlib province, northern Syria, in March 2013. The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.
HUSSEIN MALLA, FILE/AP

Stars and Stripes, by BASSEM MROUE The Associated Press, March 24, 2015:

BEIRUT — The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.

But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

Its scope of influence now abuts the Golan Heights bordering Israel, and its membership largely composed of Syrian nationals refuse any negotiations with the government of embattled President Bashar Assad, further complicating the brutal conflict.

“The Nusra Front will most likely outlast ISIS in Syria, and will represent a severe and existential threat to the aspirations of the Syrian people in terms of a pluralistic, democratic society,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, using an alternate acronym for the extremist group.

The Islamic State group helped create the Nusra Front, providing financing, manpower and military hardware in 2012. But the group and its patron eventually had a falling out in 2013 for ideological as well as strategic reasons. The Nusra Front, while loyal to al-Qaida, has cooperated with other Syrian rebel factions in the fight to oust Assad.

In recent months, the group has overrun rebel strongholds in Syria’s Idlib province, trouncing two prominent, U.S.-backed rebel factions, Harakat Hazm and the Syria Revolutionaries Front. Following the deadly clashes, SRF leader Jamal Maarouf fled to Turkey and Hazm announced it was dissolving.

A Middle East-based Western diplomat said the Nusra Front began its attacks on moderate, U.S.-backed rebel factions after the American-led coalition began airstrikes in September targeting both the Islamic State group and the Khorasan group, which Washington says is a special cell within Nusra plotting attacks against Western interests. U.S. officials last week said airstrikes have hit as many as 17 separate targets connected to the Khorasan group.

The Nusra Front responded with a series of spectacular attacks targeting moderate rebel groups and forces loyal to Assad in northwestern Syria, the diplomat said.

It “has now created coherent control of a strategic area between Idlib and Hama (provinces) in northwestern and central Syria,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to brief journalists.

At the same time, the group has become increasingly aggressive toward local populations. In January, members of the group reportedly shot a woman dead in front of a crowd in Idlib after they accused her of being a prostitute. The group also has carried out public lashings, crucifixions and kidnappings — though it has not publicized the atrocities like the Islamic State group.

Activists in southern Syria say the Nusra Front was behind the January bombing that destroyed the shrine of a 13th century Muslim scholar. The Nusra Front issued a statement denying it was involved but activists say its members were seen placing the bombs.

“They’re trying to come across as rational, moderate, more dynamic,” Gerges said. “They don’t celebrate savagery in the same way like the Islamic State group.”

Residents say among the group’s most worrisome action so far is forcing members of the minority Druze sect living in Idlib’s Jabal al-Summaq region to convert to Sunni Islam.

The Druze, a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, made up about 5 percent of Syria’s prewar population of 23 million people. In addition to Syria, Lebanon and Israel have large Druze communities.

“The Druze in Idlib are being subjected today to religious persecution. The Nusra Front carried out shameful acts. They have dug graves and damaged shrines,” said former Lebanese Cabinet minister Wiam Wahhab, a Druze politician with close ties to the community in Syria.

Activists estimate several hundred Druze have been forced to convert. A purported Nusra Front document, posted online and dated Feb. 1, outlined an agreement that saw Druze in 14 villages in Idlib convert. Under the deal, the Druze will implement Islamic laws, destroy tombs, impose Islamic dress on women and stop having mixed-sex schools. Idlib-based activist Asaad Kanjo said many Druze there have fled.

“You are likely to see this sort of behavior from Nusra in Idlib province because they are increasingly the dominant party in this part of Syria, and are in the midst of a concerted effort to eliminate rivals there,” said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “Nusra ultimately wants to rule Syria.”

An opposition activist in Kafranbel, a town in Idlib, said the group has established an elaborate network of social services and Shariah courts and rules uncontested. Remaining rebel groups in the province operate only with Nusra’s approval, he said.

However, the group’s increasingly belligerent approach toward other rebel groups is starting to alienate former allies, said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The main Western-backed Syrian group, the Syrian National Coalition, which in the past has been wary not to criticize Nusra, has changed its tune.

“We are concerned over Al Nusra’s latest actions and abuses against civilians and (Free Syrian Army) fighters,” said spokesman Salem al-Meslet, adding that the abuses were akin to the Islamic State group and Syrian government forces’ “criminal behavior.”

The criticism has led the Nusra Front to issue a rare statement defending itself, saying its target are only those proven to have committed “crimes” against Muslims and fighters.

“It was not our intention on any day to spread influence and expand and control the worshippers and the country,” the statement from its Al-Manara Al-Bayda media arm said. “Rather, our goal and aim is to lift injustice from the oppressed, and push away every enemy that attacks the honor, religion, and sanctities of the Muslims.”

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam contributed to this report.

Follow Bassem Mroue on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bmroue.

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